Investigation of the cultural heritage significance of the Rijal Alma Heritage Village

Author: Abdullah Mohammed M Alfaifi

Alfaifi, Abdullah Mohammed M, 2023 Investigation of the cultural heritage significance of the Rijal Alma Heritage Village, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Terms of Use: This electronic version is (or will be) made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. You may use this material for uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact with the details.


This research investigated the cultural heritage in Rijal Almaa to understand the factors that

make it unique in Saudi Arabia and how the archaeological activities in this village affected

the local community's values and traditions. Rijal Almaa, a nominated UNESCO's World

Heritage Sites list, provides an interesting perspective into the cultural tourism sector in

Saudi Arabia and the relationship between archaeology and this form of tourism. This study

examined the impacts of increased tourism activities in Rijal Almaa on the local community's

lifestyle and values. A literature review was critical in evaluating the information available

about the research topic and critiquing this data for detailed analysis as part of this thesis.

The research methodology applied in this study involved a SWOT analysis of the secondary

literature used to categorize the sources based on their relevance to the research objectives.

This secondary literature supplemented the data collected from a site visit, which included

maps, photographs, and surveys completed by the researcher. A value-based theoretical

approach was used to categorize data and identify the factors influencing and shaping

critical themes associated with Rijal Almaa's cultural heritage and the impacts of

archaeological activities on the site. The results from the study revealed that Rijal Almaa

had 60 ancient historical buildings that formed the core of its cultural heritage. The

architectural style displayed in these old buildings was unique to Rijal Almaa. This feature,

combined with a study of the materials and decorations, illuminated why Saudi Arabia values

the heritage site so highly. The results also showed that archaeological activities around the

heritage site had significant socio-economic benefits for the local community in Rijal Almaa.

However, the research revealed the necessity to ensure international visitors are aware of

and comply with the local laws when visiting these sites. Tourist activities that result in

vandalism or undermining the local community's traditions and values are detrimental to the

inhabitants and inhibit the effectiveness of the site's heritage conservation strategies. The

study recommends in-depth research into the long-term effects of cultural tourism on the

heritage village's cultural, social, and economic states to implement policies that ensure the

impacts remain primarily positive.

Keywords: Rijal Almaa village, Heritage, cultural heritage, Saudi Arabia, cultural tourism.

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2023
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Daryl Wesley